Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, October 2014 -- Page 59

When I’m in Italy, I generally eat only Italian food. I doubt there’s another country in Europe (except France) that could hold my palate’s interest so easily.

Italians are passionate about food. Cuisine is like a religion, and it’s the quality of the ingredients that’s most sacred. They tell me French cuisine is the art of making a fine sauce to cover the taste of mediocre ingredients. In Italy, they say, “La miglior cucina comincia dal mercato” (“The best cuisine starts from the...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, September 2014 -- Page 60
Travelers of all ages — here trying snails for the first time — can reach new gastronomic heights in France. Photo by Rick Steves

I love France. It is one of Europe’s most diverse, tasty and exciting countries. It brims with the good life and a special appreciation for culture, music, art, food and wine.

But Americans can feel pretty dowdy when confronted with the casual sophistication of the French, who are matchless when it comes to just about anything suave and urbane. In my early days of touring France, I used to worry about being a cultural bumpkin, but now I embrace it. After all, I travel to learn...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, August 2014 -- Page 62
jamon iberico de bellota
Tastes specific to Spain
Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, July 2014 -- Page 59
Wielding a handheld shower in a tight shower space lacking a soap dish or shelf may lead to some bathroom gymnastics. Photo by Dominic Bonuccelli
Common features of hotel bathrooms on the Continent
Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, June 2014 -- Page 57
Highland dancing is a popular activity at festivals in towns big and small throughout Scotland. Photo by Dominic Bonuccelli
A few fun festivals in Italy, Spain and Scotland
Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, May 2014 -- Page 59

The Louvre is Europe’s oldest, biggest, greatest and second-most-crowded museum (after the Vatican). It is home to Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Michelangelo statues, and paintings by the greatest artists from the Renaissance to the Romantics. Lately, it is also home to groups of pickpockets. It got so bad that in April 2013 the museum staff walked out in protest. The Louvre had to close for a day, and the management finally beefed up police patrols.

Europe is a surprisingly...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, April 2014 -- Page 56
Sightseers visit Berlin’s new memorial honoring the Roma and Sinti victims of Hitler’s genocide. Photo by Rick Steves

While Germany sits in the driver’s seat of Europe’s economy, it doesn’t take a cultural backseat either. Here are a few of the latest developments.

• Berlin is trying to finish construction of its new, 5-billion-euro (nearly 7-billion-dollar) airport, Willy Brandt Berlin-Brandenburg International, but the project has been perennially delayed by a faulty fire-safety system, glitches in the baggage-sorting equipment and other technical problems. A partial opening...

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Rick Steves' Europe
This article appears in our Print Edition, March 2014 -- Page 55
Visitors to the ‘Cutty Sark’ in London’s Greenwich district can walk under the ship, which has been raised 11 feet above her dry dock. Photo by Gretchen Strauch

For travelers to Great Britain, Italy or France, here are a few important changes to be aware of in 2014.

GREAT BRITAIN

• London continues to grow and thrive, post Olympics. Free WiFi is everywhere, bus transportation is more efficient than ever, and the city’s freshly scrubbed monuments have never looked so good. 

Some of the biggest changes are in East London, where backhoes and bulldozers buzz around busily turning the 2012 Olympics site into what is...

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